More on Bolivia

What are the current issues in Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America: of its 9.5 million population, two thirds overall – 80 percent in rural areas – live below the poverty line.

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America: of its 9.5 million population, two thirds overall – 80 percent in rural areas – live below the poverty line.

Over the last ten years, stunting in children under 5 has remained at 27 percent nationally and 37 percent in rural areas, exceeding 40 percent in the most food-insecure municipalities, according to a WFP consumption and nutrition survey.

Access is the main cause of food insecurity in Bolivia. The income of 40 percent of the total population -59 in rural areas- is insufficient to meet basic food needs. According to a vulnerability analysis and mapping (VAM) report, this figure increases to 72 percent for households in the most food-insecure municipalities, where 63 percent of households cannot provide the minimum caloric intake.

The largely rural and indigenous population in these municipalities depends heavily on subsistence agriculture; during the lean seasons people experience food deficits, and frequent natural disasters make agriculture an unreliable source of income. These factors affect the nutritional status of children, causing serious levels of chronic malnutrition.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Bolivia

The country programme in Bolivia has three objectives:

  • Contribute to the reduction of child malnutrition;
  • Improve enrolment, attendance and capacity to concentrate and learn among primary schoolchildren and street children; and
  • Enhance emergency preparedness and response capacity.

Activities will be implemented to strengthen government capacity to manage food-base programmes, involving all three main objectives to support a gradual handover of activities. The CP will be implemented in the 52 priority municipalities, identified by the Zero Malnutrition Programme of the Bolivian government.

  • Component 1:  Integrated Programme for Children aged 2 to 5

This component aims to improve the nutritional status of 45,000 children between 2 and 5 years of age attending nurseries in rural areas, through on-site food aid. As in previous years, municipalities and parents will complement WFP rations with fresh food.

This component will be carried out under the Zero Malnutrition Programme. WFP will enhance the government’s technical capacity through the United Nations joint programme, in partnership with FAO, UNICEF, UNIDO, WHO and UNDP to develop: (i) nutritional training, promotion of healthy food habits and pre- and post-natal care for mothers; (ii) logistics and supply chain management of fortified complementary food for children under 2; (iii) a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for the fortified complementary food consumption; (iv) introduction of a new model of nutritional care and surveillance centers, known as integrated nutritional units (INUs); and (v) promotion of local food production. All these will require additional resources, which will be co-funded by the Government and donors under the Zero Malnutrition Programme.

  • Component 2:  Support for the National School Feeding Programme

This component aims to enable 80,000 school-age children of 6 to 14 years in the 52 most food-insecure municipalities to attend school continuously and improve their ability to concentrate and assimilate information, through alleviating short-term hunger.

Through the school feeding programme, the National Development Programme will promote the use of traditional foods and the establishment of local food markets. WFP will advocate for the establishment of gardens and small livestock development projects in school. Most of these complementary activities will be carried out by the sustainable school feeding project funded by the European Union.

Food will be procured locally by the municipalities, with technical assistance from WFP, and will provide one meal to complement the WFP dry ration. This will help create municipal-level capacities for procuring food for the school feeding programme, which includes essential capacity development and training components to enable local governments to manage and implement the programme.

This component includes support for street children. WFP will help improve their education by supporting public shelters and boarding institutions that run education programmes for child workers and street children. Implementing partners, mainly non-governmental organizations, will provide training, health care and psychological support.

  • Component 3:  Strengthening Emergency Preparedness and Response Capacities

This component aims to enhance capacity in risk management in national, regional and local institutions, focusing on preparedness and response to reduce the impact of natural disasters on livelihoods, especially for the rural poor, and to contribute to a long-term solution to malnutrition.

Among the expected outcomes are the establishment of a national response system with national and regional contingency plans and logistics networks, and improved capacity in the management of emergency food aid for young children, impact evaluation, emergency needs assessment, project formulation and integrated programmes for early response.

Featured Bolivia publications

  • Bolivia: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 416 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Bolivia? Visit the Bolivia publications archive.